October 9 2008.

After the Motor Cycle Industry Association's( MCI) recent success in persuading Ministers to defer the implementation date of the new motorcycle test to the end of March 2009, the Association has focussed on working with the DSA to ensure that adequate preparations will be in place for the new test.

Currently, there are 39 Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTC). But MCI is advised that due to numerous planning constraints and other related issues, the total number of MPTCs is unlikely to reach the planned 66 sites by March 29th.

However, discussions have revealed that the DSA are now considering a number of proposals to ensure that national coverage for motorcycle tests is maintained. The proposals include a number of options for delivering the new test, which are much more flexible than the arrangements originally envisaged and bring into play possible additional sites to the planned MPTC. In particular, a modular format for the test itself is being considered and the DSA will shortly consult motorcycle trainers about this.

Some organisations have expressed the view that the test should be delayed further and that the structure of tests sites and delivery should remain broadly unchanged compared to the current situation. Although MCI has strong sympathy with this view, it must be remembered that Europe is expecting the UK to implement the Second Driving Licence Directive. Clearly, no matter how flexible or creative the DSA is prepared to be, the new motorcycle test will be implemented.

The MCI's Craig Carey Clinch said: "Although MCI will keep an open mind regarding any necessity to further delay to the test, we are not yet at the stage where this needs to be seriously considered and there is still a possibility that adequate delivery arrangements can be put in place by next March. MCI recognises the Government's position and the implications of further costly and time consuming EC infraction procedures which may be enacted against the UK in Brussels if there is a further delay.

"In any case, the new test itself is something that has been broadly welcomed by the industry as a contribution to road safety. The urgent task for DSA is to ensure that it can be properly delivered and MCI is supporting this endeavour.

"We have been impressed by the DSA's new willingness to consider a more dynamic approach to the delivery of the new test and will continue to work with them on delivering a solution which is equitable to candidates, maintains test availability around the country and ensures that the motorcycle training industry gets the fair deal that it desperately needs."

"But let's be clear about this, the DSA do not have a 'blank cheque' from MCI. Although we are optimistic that we will see resolution to the issue, if we approach March 29th without adequate coverage being in place, we will need to consider what action will be necessary given the jobs and livelihoods in the industry that are at stake."